Recent news reports of a teen who overdosed on caffeine and, unfortunately, died. Here’s what you should know.
Recent events show that it seems even your coffee can be fatal. A high school 16-year old was pronounced dead on April 27, 2017 a few hours after he blacked out in class. The official cause of death was stated as probably a fatal arrhythmia or other cardiac event.
His classmates informed the medical coroner that the teen drank a McDonald’s cafe latte, a large Mountain Dew, and a 16-ounce energy drink all within two hours. All three drinks are teeming with caffeine. The medical coroner theorized that the sudden burst of caffeine to his system disrupted his heart so much that it ultimately lead to the teen’s death.
The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that teens and children shouldn’t ingest caffeine at all. The FDA recommends that adults limit their caffeine intake to 400 milligrams daily.
If You Don’t Overdo It, Caffeine Is Actually Healthy for You
But drinking caffeinated drinks can actually be very healthy as long as you don’t overdo it. For example, research shows that drinking coffee during key times can enhance your subsequent activities:
- Drinking coffee before exercising boosts your metabolism and blood flow to your muscles, which helps you work out for longer without feeling exhausted. It also lowers muscle pain afterward.
- Regularly drinking coffee can help protect your liver from cirrhosis caused by drinking alcohol. It also helps prevent you from developing diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
- Drinking coffee 24 hours before taking a written test helps you perform better because it boosts your memory.
These researchers recommend drinking only up to five cups of coffee daily. Drinking more than that can undo these health benefits. Ready-made coffee you buy at restaurants usually come loaded with unhealthy cremes, artificial chemicals, sugar, and other unfavorable ingredients. It’s best to brew your own coffee using pure coffee beans without adding milk or sugar.
Healthier Naturally Caffeinated Beverages
If you want to maximize caffeine’s holistic benefits without risking a fatal overdose, you can choose these better beverage options that come with a slew of other health benefits:
Green or white tea. Green and white teas have higher cancer-fighting polyphenol and catechin content than other teas. They’ve also been found to boost your immunity and cardiovascular health. Their high antioxidant content also helps slow aging and lengthens your life. Of course, they’re both caffeine-rich, which means you also get all the benefits of caffeine when drinking either tea.
Hot cocoa. Hot cocoa made from dark chocolate or pure cocoa has a high caffeine content. They’re also low-calorie and filled with antioxidants. Its flavanols have been found to boost your cognitive abilities for up to three hours. Eating or drinking cocoa regularly also protects your heart and helps you lose weight. Enjoying hot cocoa regularly means you get all these benefits and more, plus all the benefits that come with caffeine too!
Caffeine can heal and protect your body, but don’t chug down too many caffeinated drinks within the span of a couple of hours because that can lead to cardiac complications. If you have children, it’s probably impossible to keep them away from caffeinated beverages because most popular sodas are teeming with caffeine. But do keep in mind that experts recommend that children and teens don’t drink caffeine, and that adults have a daily limit of 400 milligrams.